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WEDDING BLOG

The Essential Guide to the Best Wedding Registries

July 26, 2018 | juliette

photo by Peyton Rainey Photography

While the concept of wedding registries hasn’t changed much over the last 5 years, what sets the best wedding registries apart from all others are the convenience, services, and uniqueness they offer. Gone are the days when all couples register for housewares to make their new house feel like a home. Honeymoon funds, cash gifts, and charitable donations are becoming more and more popular each year, and it’s important that the wedding registry giants keep up. And, with the reliance on wedding websites and wedding apps for staying organized and connected through the wedding planning process, it’s even more important than ever that registries are easy to use and intuitively designed — for couples and guests.

Now, we realize that most large stores, such as Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Macy’s, do have their own wedding registries — and those are awesome! But we didn’t include them here because they tend to be more niche and don’t have the same level of benefits and services that other wedding registry giants offer. We do still love those niche markets and stores, but, for the purposes of this article, we focused on the best of the best wedding registries with the most bang for your (guests’) buck that will effortlessly help you create the home and/or the honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of!

photo by Nicole Ashley Photography

Zola

What We Love: Zola is the gold standard for wedding registries these days because it allows you to register for everything from travel packages to cash to housewares from their growing online store — or from virtually any other store if they don’t have what you’re looking for. Their easy-to-use interface makes registering a breeze and their registry consultant, registry planner, and registry checklist will guide you through every step of creating the ultimate wish list. We love that couples can customize their registry pages with photos and notes to tell guests why they registered for certain items (totally optional), so it makes it another piece of the wedding vibe puzzle rather than just a list of gifts the couple wants. It’s Zola‘s personalization and attention to detail that truly sets them apart. Not to mention, Zola offers so much more than just registries: they also have beautiful wedding websites and wedding planning tools, to give you a one-stop-shop experience that’s hard to find anywhere else.

Benefits: universal registry; free and customizable shipping; easy online exchange you can use even before your gifts ship; 20% post-wedding discount for remaining items; registry app; registry planner; thank you note manager; price matching; group gifting; registry advisor

What’s the Catch: While it feels a little wrong to say there’s “a catch” to a wedding registry — after all, it is a list of gifts people are going to buy for you! — there are just a couple of small things to keep in mind on Zola. First, the 20% discount after the wedding only applies to items sold directly by Zola. Second, if you add a gift from another store, you have to manually verify the price listed and Zola does not update the registry listing if the price changes. You’ll just have to make sure you’re adding the retail price to items from other stores rather than sale prices so your guests don’t have incorrect information.

photo by Ben Sasso

Blueprint Registry

What We Love: When it comes to innovation and next-level ideas, Blueprint Registry is where it’s at! While most online wedding registries provide lists or groups of items to choose from, Blueprint Registry (as the name suggest) actually allows you to browse and shop by room. Genius! Not only can you better visualize your items in a space, but you’ll see where there might be gaps, notice that some items don’t work with others, and refine your list with a much more concrete plan in mind.

Benefits: universal registry; shop room by room; shop all top retailers and brands; cash registry option with a subsidized processing fee and no additional fees; import an existing registry; gift tracker; completion discount; group gifting; personalized registry page with room for photos, notes, and highlights; registry concierge; fundraising pages for everything from honeymoon activities to date nights

What’s the Catch: There are a couple of different options for adding items from other stores to your registry, and it can be slightly confusing. If you use “Everyday Import,” you will essentially import existing registries from other stores, which can be a hassle for you but more convenient for your guests. If you add items using the “One-Time Import” feature or “Add to Blueprint” button, then your guests will be directed to the third-party site to actually purchase it. Once they buy the item, they have to navigate back to your Blueprint Registry page to mark the gift as “Purchased.” While that’s not a huge hassle, it does requires one extra step for your guests.

photo by Vic Bonvicini Photography

Bed Bath & Beyond

What We Love: If kitchen, bath, bedding, and general housewares are high on your list of must-haves, it’s hard to beat Bed Bath & Beyond‘s wedding registry! Not only do you get access to thousands of brands through their online store, but you get the invaluable option to meet with a registry consultant in-store to help you make the best selections and actually touch every item. Plus, walking around, scanning items like you own the place is surprisingly satisfying! If you haven’t seen our Editor-in-Chief Carrie’s Bed Bath & Beyond experience, make sure you take a peek for a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to register in-store and what essentials she recommends!

Benefits: in-store consultant; thousands of convenient locations; free announcement cards; free shipping; completion discount; free registry book and home guide for inspiration; registry checklist; start-to-finish incentive program with free gifts from select brands; refer-a-friend program that gives you a $25 store credit if a friend creates a wedding registry

What’s the Catch: Unlike most online registries these days, Bed Bath & Beyond does not offer a universal registry, which means you cannot add items from other stores to your Bed Bath & Beyond registry. While this might not be an issue considering their vast array of items and brands, it might mean you have to create at least one other wedding registry if you want to branch out from home goods.

photo by Nicole Ashley Photography

Target

What We Love: Can we all just agree that it’s hard to beat Target for most shopping needs in life? Well, they’ve applied that same magical, unexplainable appeal to their wedding registries, and we couldn’t be happier! Not only do they offer a huge variety of items that range from staples to exclusive items you won’t find anywhere else, but they go beyond the norm of most niche, brick-and-mortar stores to also offer an “Add from Anywhere” option. So, if you can’t find the exact blender you want at Target — or even if you find something on Etsy — you can easily add it to your registry using a bookmark link. Plus, Target has a notoriously easy return policy that’s extended up to a year for wedding gifts!

Benefits: universal registry; gift tracking; registry app; in-store and online registering; group gifting; personalized registry page; thousands of convenient locations; free in-store pickup; free shipping on orders over $35; group gifting; easy returns for up to a year; 15% completion discount; bonus gifts; integrated with Honeyfund to allow guests to contribute to your honeymoon

What’s the Catch: The one drawback is that Target‘s completion discount may take a while to receive via mail, and it can only be used once.

photo by Karina & Maks

Amazon

What We Love: It’s hard to imagine life without the convenience of Amazon. So, it should come as no surprise that their wedding registry remains one of the best around! They have continued to step up their game to match the wedding registry giants that have popped up over the years, and we think they are killing it. In addition to the seemingly unlimited goods they offer, you can also register for everything from gift cards to travel to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Amazon also now has curated collections you can add to your list that will help you find items you might have otherwise forgotten (or not even known about!).

Benefits: universal registry tool; customizable page to add photos and notes, and highlight your favorite items; one-time 20% discount after the wedding for Prime members, 10% discount for non-Prime members; fast, free shipping for Prime members or free shipping over $25 for non-Prime members; 180-day return policy; bonus gifts from select brands; thank you note tracker

What’s the Catch: As with other sites that offer a universal registry, the process for guests to buy items not sold on Amazon can be quite cumbersome. For the couple, you have to manually add the details of the items you want from other stores, which opens up the possibility for errors. But for the guests, it can be even more challenging because they have to make the purchase on the other store’s website, find the couple’s address because Amazon doesn’t release that information, then navigate back to Amazon to mark it as “Purchased.” To be fair, nobody has quite figured out the universal registry hiccups yet, so we’ll continue to hope that’s an upgrade that’s coming soon across the board!

photo by Lauren Nicole Photography

Honeyfund

What We Love: Honeyfund changed the game for honeymoon registries by making them convenient and downright beautiful! They’ve elevated the experience of asking for money for your dream vacation and made it feel like buying off of a traditional registry. We also love their mission of not taking money from their registered couples (as it should be!) or extra money from gift givers. While there is an unavoidable exception for credit card payments, Honeyfund has shown they really are committed to making the experience great for everyone involved!

Benefits: free to use; lowest credit card payment fees compared to other honeymoon fund website; free conversion to digital gift cards; partnerships with Target and various travel companies to bring you the best experience options; ability to add gift cards from popular travel, dining, and retail brands; easily shareable via social media; easy-to-use interface to make gift giving convenient for your guests

What’s the Catch: While most of the Honeyfund website can be used free of charge, you’ll have to pay $39.99 for additional fonts, textures, and colors, a customizable background, and password protection. Also, the “totally free” scenario only applies to their Honeyfund Balance option, in which you redeem digital gift cards, or offline payment option, in which your guest makes a pledge on your Honeyfund page but pays you directly. If you want to receive cash gifts via WePay or PayPal, there’s a 2.8% fee + an additional $.30 charge per online transaction in the U.S. (fees vary by country). You can see their complete fee breakdown here.

photo by Peyton Rainey Photography

Tendr

What we love: Touted as “the elegant way to give and receive cash,” Tendr is perfect for couples who don’t need or want items for their home, don’t want to register for honeymoon activities, or simply just want a little more cash! (Really, who doesn’t?) It can be quite awkward to tell your family and friends that you just want cash, so having an official registry page on Tendr can definitely ease some of that anxiety. We also love that they give couples the option to donate a portion of their gifts to a charitable organization.

Benefits: option to donate a portion of your gifts to charitable organizations; customizable occasion pages (for everything from weddings to baby showers to graduations); option for the couple to pay the standard fee; various payment options for senders; easy withdrawal directly to your bank

What’s the Catch: As with all money transferring or gifting websites, Tendr does charge a standard fee. By default, they don’t charge the recipient any fees. They charge a flat $3 fee to the sender, no matter how large the gift is. If you’d prefer your guests not have to pay an extra fee, there is an option on your dashboard to pay those fees on their behalf. There’s also a 2.7% processing fee if the sender wants to buy by credit card, which the couple cannot opt to pay. Senders do have the option to pay using a bank transfer or Venmo, both of which are free. Lastly, you’ll want to check their list of supported banks to be sure you can withdraw your money when it’s time.

When it comes time to set up your wedding registry, you’ll want to include beautiful engagement photos! Take a peek at these resources to help you get the most out of your engagement photo session:

8 Tips for Nailing Your Engagement Photos

Everything You Need For Your Cozy At-Home Engagement Shoot

Summer Engagement Outfit Ideas for Her and Him

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3 Comments

  1. We are using MyRegistry.com! There isn’t a limit on gifts you can add and you can add them from anywhere in the world, which is nice because we didn’t like to be limited to one retailer. They’re like the best of both worlds, too, since we also made a cash fund for people to donate to. We especially need it because we wanna raise funds for our Disneyworld honeymoon :)

  2. ALSO they have this amazing new website feature. We got to plug in our hashtag, a cute little love story blurb, and actual day of details. I’m bummed I won’t be able to use it anymore after our wedding haha it’s literally the cutest thing ever

  3. Good work Juliette! Cool ideas for wedding registries, thanks for sharing best gift registry websites. People could easily find the online wedding gift registry sites.

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